About Us

Meet the website team

Faces and personalities are important when making purchases from a website. We want to reassure you our customers and potential customers that we are not “fly by nights” in it for the cash but that we do actually care about what we sell, how we present it to you, how we get it to you and how you respond when you have received it. That is why we want you to meet the Web team. It won’t take long, there’s not many of us.

Alina Botezatu – Home Delivery Website Manager

Website manager. Alina joined the company in March 2020. Having joined us at the beginning of the pandemic she came into the Cheltenham Store like a whirlwind of energy and was willing to turn her hand to anything that needed doing in order to help us to keep the Store and Website running and open for all of our new and long-term customers. She has worked in all areas of the Store which helps with her product knowledge and has been working alongside and supporting Jo in the Webroom since Christmas 2022.

Alina has taken on the mantle of Website Manager to look after all our wonderful Home Delivery Customers. We know that she will do a sterling job and be our primary source of contact with any queries and as quality control for your orders.

In her spare time Alina is the most fantastic cake baker and loves nothing more than getting out and about the local countryside on her bike with a book and a flask of tea to watch the sun rise and the flowers grow.

Mike Batchelor  – Home Delivery Website Assistant

Mike has recently joined us in the Webroom to support Alina with picking and packing orders. He is ensuring that the packroom is run in a smooth and efficient manner with an eye on quality of produce, accuracy of orders and safely packing your goods so that they reach you in tip top condition.

Outside of work, music, art, football & cooking are his passions.

Mike – One of NGS’ founders

“It was all an accident, really.  I was staying with a family in Port Hardy, on Vancouver Island in the early 1980s.  It was the sort of place that you either arrive at by ferry or, at that time, by logging road!  Their son was quite ill, and had schizophrenia.  To try to help him, and at the direction of the John Hopkins Schizophrenia Centre, the whole family changed their diet.  They stopped eating processed food and switched to a more natural way of eating – whole grains, organic food, that sort of thing.  The change in diet had a massive effect on his behaviour, and it got me thinking.”

Paul – NGS’ other co-founder

“Mike and I were both thinking as, a couple of years later, we travelled through the US and the Far East.  We started looking at how natural foods were sold in America and Hong Kong.  It was all very, very different from the rather uninspiring, unimaginative & under-stocked ‘health shops’ that you found in the UK.  You could buy things other than dried chick-peas for a start…”

We decided we should take the plunge and start our own store.  Somewhere light and airy like the stores in the States.  Taking inspiration from wholefood stores in LA like Erewhon and Oliver’s in Hong Kong, somewhere where we could make sure the shelves were groaning with things people would want to eat, rather than little brown things in packets they thought they should eat.

We looked in London, Brighton and a few other places before we settled on Cheltenham.  We gutted the store, slapped what felt like gallons on paint on the walls and then opened the doors in May 1998.  Customers started coming in, they liked what they saw, and after 20 something years,  many of them are now firm friends, and the doors have stayed open 7 days a week…

I’m not sure we’ve had time to draw breath since!

The environment

With some places, you either get the feeling they’re using their environmental credentials as a marketing tool.  With others, it’s all so hair-shirted it hurts.  For us, it’s simple.  We believe the smaller our footprint, the better for the world.

That’s why we recycle absolutely everything we can.  Sometimes, it’s almost in spite of ourselves – if you try to get through the corridor at the back of the store you can’t move for stacked cardboard ready to be recycled.  Look in the loo (no – really) – we’ve got a hippo bag to minimise the water we use, and you can wash your hands in biodegradable detergent.  You won’t find a standard lightbulb in the place – they’re all low-energy.  We use Ecotricity for all our power as well. We’ve even chosen the people who deliver your order as much for their environmental credentials as their efficiency.

Rather than installing air conditioning, we’ve covered the front windows of the store with solar film to keep temperatures down!